DUBAI // The new BlackBerry Z10 was due to arrive in selected stores at 10pm last night, just in time to fulfil a promise to launch in the emirate on February 10.
Etisalat was among the first to inform customers that the smartphone would be available at specific outlets, including their Deira business centre and Sharjah’s Al Manakh business centre.
Dubai was one of six cities worldwide to host an unveiling of the operating system on January 30, but customers who visited stores throughout the day were unable to purchase the handset until late in the evening.
“We’ve been told there is a go-ahead to retailers and we should be getting stocks shortly. It’s a question of logistics to get everything to us. We’ve been told to expect it anytime,” said Ashish Panjabi, the chief operating officer of Jacky’s Electronics.
“For any launch whether it’s an iPhone, BlackBerry or a Samsung, there is always a shortage in the first few months.”
The fully touchscreen Z10 will cost Dh2,599, although data packages will reduce the price for du and Etisalat customers. The Q10, with a physical keyboard, is expected to be available in April.
The new operating system includes video calling through BlackBerry Messenger Voice, similar to FaceTime on iPhone.
Retailers said interest in the new phone was strong despite a relentless migration of consumers to Apple and Samsung phones loaded with apps and high-resolution screens.
“There has been a good response because a lot of customers are waiting for something new and this platform is radically different,” said Nadeem Khanzadah, the deputy general manager of retail at Jumbo Electronics.
“There will be six more handsets from BlackBerry by the end of the year. Loyal BlackBerry customers will obviously migrate to the new phone but there will be some who migrate from other platforms as well.”
One diehard customer said she would continue to stick by the phone, no matter what.
“It’s a very good, trusty instrument and I really need it for my job,” said Marie Lalanne, a French resident. “The iPhone is very expensive. I didn’t know about this latest BlackBerry and I bought a new one two weeks ago. Anyway I’m happy because I use it a lot.”